The State Collation Officer for the February 25 presidential election in Rivers State and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Otuoke, Prof. Teddy Adias, has alleged threat to his life and that of his family members by some persons who claimed that he was detailed to influence votes in favour of a candidate or political party at the polls.
Adias, who raised the alarm in a statement titled, ‘My stewardship, my bond as state collation officer for the 2023 presidential election, Rivers state’, said he had been receiving threat calls, messages, abuses and insults over the claim despite his neutrality.
Debunking the allegation, he explained that his job as state collation officer was simply to collate results that had been recorded at the units, wards and local government levels up to the state’s collation centre where all the scores were summed up in the presence of all concerned persons and groups, as well as party agents and the media.
He said, “By this arrangement it is quite impossible for a State Collation Officer for the Presidential Election to manipulate scores that had already been counted, recorded, confirmed, signed, and stamped by Officers at the lower levels of Collation (Unit, Ward, and LGA).
“Looking at the scope and modalities of my job as well as my neutrality as a Vice-Chancellor, how could anyone have imagined to the extent of alleging that I was out to favour any candidate or political party in the Presidential Elections?
“To put the records straight, I began to receive several phone calls and text messages threatening, abusing and insulting my person and family on February 26, 2023 while I was on my way to Port Harcourt to report to duty not knowing that my photograph and phone number had already been circulated on the social media, especially Facebook and Twitter alleging that I had been detailed to influence votes and scores for Candidate(s) in the elections by manipulating the BVAS machines in Rivers State among others.”
The vice-chancellor said he informed the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Rivers State, Johnson Alalibo about the threats and he roundly condemned it, promising him that his safety was assured.
He stated that he managed to comport himself as more threats and insults kept hitting his phone up till the evening of February 26 when he retired to his hotel to rest after collating the results for three local government areas, to prepare for collation the next day.
He, however, said that after considering the avalanche of threats he decided the following day to adjourn the collation of results and insisted that the INEC must address a press conference “to let everyone know about the several threats to my life and as they may affect the collation exercise.”
Adias, who stated that the commission carried out the press conference and the collation exercise continued and was concluded, stressed that it became necessary for him to also alert the public “because my image is far more precious to me than anything else.”
He further said, “Trust me; there is no iota of truth in the rumours that had been peddled. It is just a figment of the imagination of their bearers to what end I cannot really ascertain.
“I want to urge us to discountenance all the misinformation and lies that have been peddled about me in relation to the conduct of the 2023 Presidential Elections in Rivers State. Let us be assured that my patriotic zeal for the growth and development of our dear country will not be dampened, no matter the seeming discouragements.”